Young farmers tell Congress sugar policy is essential

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, June 4, 2012 - The American Sugar Alliance Young Farmer Advisory Board sent a letter to Congress today, stating that if no-cost U.S. sugar policy were weakened or eliminated during Senate consideration of the Farm Bill, young sugar producers would exit the business and jeopardize future domestic supplies.

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“Without the next generation of sugar producers stepping forward, the United States-already the world's largest importer of sugar-would be at the mercy of foreign suppliers for an essential ingredient to our food supply,” stated the letter from sugar farmers and lenders under the age of 35.  “This would weaken U.S. food security and would hold serious ramifications for food manufacturers and grocery shoppers alike.”

Sugar policy, the group said, “acts as a buffer to the most distorted commodity market in the world, and without it, banks would lack the confidence to lend sugar farmers the resources necessary to survive.”   

“Restricted access to capital would prove particularly punitive to young growers who often lack the assets and proven track records of our older colleagues,” read the letter to the Senators representing the 18 sugar-producing states.

Sugar policy, which the young farmers called “the primary risk management tool available to our industry,” has operated without taxpayer cost since 2002 and is projected by the USDA to remain at no cost through at least 2022.

However, other food manufactures and some representatives in Congress believe the current sugar policy provides a disadvantage to the American consumer.

“The sugar program is clearly out of step with the needs of American consumers and job creators,” Senator Dick Lugar, R-Ind., said. “Government manipulation to increase U.S. sugar prices is driving jobs across the border and taxing American consumers.”

  

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